Whether you are just getting into archery, or you have been slinging arrows in early season for years, you can appreciate gear that is optimized for your hunting style and budget. Here are some top picks from our staff (who are bowhunters) to get you started, or upgrade for next season.
Obviously, a good sight is critical to hitting your mark. Sights can also be deeply personal and dependent on hunting style. To pick out a sight that is a good fit, you must first ask yourself a few questions: What is your maximum shooting distance? Single-pin or multi-pin? Are electronic sight lights legal where you hunt? Do you want all your gear in matching camo, or do you prefer classic model-T black? Here are a few popular options to get you started.
Now that you have your sight picked out, let's look at one of the unsung heroes of modern archery equipment, the arrow rest. At a minimum, the rest hold your arrow for the shot, but it can be a crucial factor in achieving accuracy and consistency. We off several different models from the simple capture-style EZ•REST™ and STORM™ to drop-away rests like the CARBON XS and DOWN•DRAFT™.
The rest holds the arrow you are shooting, but you'll need to safely store the other arrows you are bringing along. When picking out a quiver, here are some things to consider: How many arrows with you need to hold? Do you always shoot with the quiver on the bow, do you hang it in a treestand or blind, or some of each? Do you want to be able to adjust the position of the quiver? There are several quick-detach mechanisms—which do you prefer?
All TRUGLO quivers use quiet rubber grippers that fit standard sized arrows (.229 in. diameter and up), and a rubber hood liner that won't dull broadheads. The TRU•TOUCH™ technical coating (standard on most TRUGLO quivers) dampens noise and provides a soft feel.
Some hunters prefer not to use a stabilizer but if you look at the bow set-ups of successful hunters you will usually find some form of stabilizer bar. The two main goals of a stabilizer are balance/stabilization and vibration dampening. Weight and length determine how much a forward mounted bar can help slow the waving motion of the bow. Generally, longer and heavier bars are better for stability, but you don't necessarily want to hike around with a heavy rig or engage in an unintended fencing match with a tree limb or ground blind. Selecting the weight and length of a stabilizer is again personal and is literally a bit of a balancing act. You want enough weight and length to provide effective stabilization, but not so much that it is cumbersome in the field. The CARBON XS and TRU•TEC™ Carbon Pro utilize adjustable weight systems, allowing a bit of tuning for optimal balance. The CADENCE™ is not adjustable but focuses all the weight forward where it is most effective and is optimized for leading carbon and aluminum hunting bows.
Older bows and higher-speed bows can have quite a bit of noise and hand shock. Vibration-dampening stabilizers can help tone this down significantly. If your primary goal is noise and vibration reduction, check out the DEADENATOR™. Afterall, can you be too quiet on a hunt?
While traditionalist prefer to use fingers or a leather tab, most bowhunters in the woods are using some sort of release aid for an accurate and ethical shot. Our collaboration with BOA® Systems brings comfortable and control to the hunt. We offer several styles of wrist straps but the BOA™ models are our top pick for all-day comfort and accuracy. If you like a single caliper design, check out the ACTIVATOR™. If a dual-jaw design is more of your style, check out the NITRUS™. If you like a rotating hook design, the DETONATOR™ is the one for you.
After selecting the type of jaw or hook you prefer, there are two options for connection systems: A Nylon strap, or the stainless-steel SIDE•LOCK™ yoke. Both are completely adjustable for length. The Nylon strap is a bit more basic but can be very forgiving to unintended torque or rotation. The rigid SIDE•LOCK design is exactly what it sounds like; the release head locks over to the side when you are not using it, and then quickly snaps into place when you hook on for the shot.
Broadhead selection can be difficult and controversial. You'll hear lots of stories about the pros and cons of different broadhead styles, about how one model may be great and another one is awful. Truthfully, it is much like any other category in archery—it comes down to matching the right piece of gear to your other equipment and how you intend to use it. We have several different styles in the TITANIUM X™ line, but all have a few common trends that are extremely important.
- Better materials. Aluminum and stainless ferrules can be good but are no longer the state of the art for durable, lightweight precision pieces. Grade-5 titanium provides the strength of stainless steel at the weight of aluminum, offering a tough body that will maintain accuracy and stand the test of time.
- Amazing sharpness. This one is straight-forward, a sharper broadhead will cut better than a dull head. We test all of our blades for sharpness in the factory. There are a couple models on the market that may match or exceed our standard of sharpness, but these heads typically use a thinner blade (to more easily achieve that sharpness) that is less durable and is less likely to hold that sharp edge after use. With .031 in. thick blades, we have optimized the balance between amazing sharpness and proven durability.
- Consistency. Do you test the weight of every pack of broadheads, and spin-test them for consistency? We do. Strict consistency is the key to accuracy.
With all TITANIUM X heads being held to strict standards, there are some good options from which to choose. If you are hunting large game like elk or moose, you are best served by a fixed-blade head. In fact, the state of Idaho still requires the use of fixed-blade heads for elk. If you are shooting a lower poundage bow, a fixed-blade design will also provide more penetration. Of our fixed-blade models, the 3-blade offers better penetration (usually pass-throughs), but the 4-blade has one more cutting edge for greater damage. Fixed blades can be incredibly accurate if your bow and rest are tuned properly, but can also reveal underlying tuning issues, so make sure you test and tune accordingly before heading out on the hunt.
Mechanical (expanding) heads may not penetrate quite as well as fixed-blade heads but if you want large cutting diameters, big entrance wounds, messy blood trails, and field-point accuracy, mechanical heads are the way to go. There are several different blade configurations that all come down to personal preference.